Soil health cards to be given under nationwide drive

From today, soil health cards will be given to farmers under a nationwide drive, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while underlining the government's commitment to make the soil healthier.

"On World Soil Day we reaffirm our commitment to making our soil healthier. When soil is in good heath, our farmers get more wealth," he tweeted.

"From today, there will be nationwide initiatives where farmers will get soil health cards and other inputs. Best wishes to farmers and officials," Modi said in another tweet.

The government's soil health card is an endeavour to improve the health of the soil and provide guidance to farmers on soil-related issues, he said.

In February, Modi had launched the soil health card scheme in Suratgarh, Rajasthan with an aim of checking deteriorating soil quality and increase farm productivity.

Under the scheme, soil health cards are proposed given to all 14.5 crore farmers in the country in the next three years. The cards will carry crop-wise recommendation of fertilisers required for farm lands, thereby helping farmers in identifying health of soil and judiciously use soil nutrients.

The government has set a target to collect 102.61 lakh samples in the 2015-16 fiscal. Till last month, it has able to collect over 55 lakh samples, of which 31.43 lakh samples have been tested and 26.53 lakh soil health cards have been issued, as per the Agriculture Ministry's data.

As per the operational guidelines of the scheme, samples are to be collected and tested in a grid of 2.5 hectare in irrigated areas and 10 hectare in rainfed areas.

The ambitious scheme was announced in the first budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in July last year.

The flagship scheme of the ministry has been sanctioned Rs 568 crore for the next three years.

The scheme assumes importance as the imbalanced application of fertilisers have caused deficiency of primary nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), secondary nutrients (such as sulphur), and micro-nutrients (boron, zinc, copper etc.) in most parts of country.

[source: Economic Times]

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